EqualityAct2010

Taking a Stand

I’m currently working in a Wellbeing charity for a few months now and initially things were great in the organisation. However, after my female manager went on annual leave the CEO of the charity started to touch me inappropriately (such as stroking and rubbing my lower back, hands on my shoulders, squeezing) bullying and intimidation and invasion of my personal space as well. I later found out that his ‘touching’ was an ‘open’ secret in the organisation and he did it to many women. I felt disgusted that this CEO in his very late 50s, a married man was doing this to young women and vulnerable volunteers in this wellbeing charity. It was unwanted touching and I voiced my disgust and said ‘No’ and physically flinched from his unwanted gestures. I was quite shocked and did not report it initially as I thought it would stop once my manager was back. It did not unfortunately. I’ve had to take out a grievance as a last resort and although it is stressful and has caused me much stress and anxiety I strongly feel it was and is the right thing to do. Do not let anyone in a position of power do this to you, it’s unacceptable and illegal (please research Laws in your country and seek advice from employment help lines, I have found ACAS in the UK very supportive). I do not know the outcome of this grievance as the Board of Trustees Chair has yet to make a decision, I suspect much like the Jimmy Savile incidents in the UK they will be keen to sweep it under the rug. However, whatever happens I know I took a stand and said ‘NO’ and I hope and trust other people will also begin to say ‘NO’ to sexual harassment in the workplace.